Luis Gonzalez off to strong start on important 2020

Luis Gonzalez is making a name for himself in White Sox Spring Training. With an important 2020 looming, it is important for the 2017 3rd round pick to have a strong season.

One of the common talking points around the White Sox farm system this spring has been that it is very top heavy and, after the top four prospects, the quality tends to fall off. While it may be true that the mid-tier prospects lack the high upside of players like Luis Robert, Michael Kopech, or Andrew Vaughn, the Sox still boast depth in several areas that may produce reliable big league players.

Heading into the 2020 minor league season, there may not be a prospect within the White Sox system with more to prove regarding what kind of upside he has than outfielder Luis Gonzalez.

Heading into his third full season in pro ball, Gonzalez is looking to bounce back from 2019 that was a bit lackluster. After a 2018 that saw him produce a wRC+ of 141 in Low-A Kannapolis and 146 in High-A Winston-Salem, many imagined that Gonzalez could be a quick riser through the Sox’ system if he was able to stay hot in Double-A.

Unfortunately, that did not come to fruition. Instead, The 2017 3rd round pick fell prey to Regents Park in Birmingham, which has proven to be many hitters’ nightmare throughout the years.

His slash line fell from a combined .307/.368/.498 in 2018 to .247/.316/.359 last season, and his extra base hit total dropped from 59 to 31. However, it was not all bad for Gonzalez in 2019.

Gonzalez’s walk and strikeout rates remained consistent from his 2018 numbers, indicating that the main issues he ran into were the results of putting the bat on the ball. Moreover, his numbers improved as the year went on, as FutureSox’ Jasper Roos detailed last month.

An Encouraging Start

As Gonzalez looks to bounce back in 2020, he’s certainly started the year on the right foot. While it’s early, the 24-year-old has hit the ground running in Spring Training with a .429/.529/.571 slash line. In the process, he’s drawn three walks and struck out just twice. He also had a clutch, walkoff single to win a game last week.

Gonzalez is still a prospect worth watching, and one who may have a solid future in MLB because he possesses an intriguing collection of tools. His power leaves something to be desired, though he can still drive balls into gaps with authority.

He also has above average speed that enabled him to steal 17 bases in 2019. Gonzalez is defensively sound and has a plus arm that should play well in right field. He ranked No. 14 on the FutureSox 2020 Preseason Top Prospects List.

He spent 126 games in Birmingham last year, and will likely have to prove to the White Sox that he deserves a call to Triple-A. Increase his production in Double-A, then a move to Charlotte turns into a reality.

Gonzalez’ mix of tools and track record still presents him with a reasonable path to MLB. He is arguably one of the higher floor outfielders in the White Sox system, and if he can start hitting for more power in 2020, he could solidify himself as a future big leaguer. While the year is just starting, his strong start this spring could be an encouraging sign of things to come.

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